Alumni Report: Trainer breaks through with Puerto Rico win
Ever wonder what happens to top amateurs after they pass through the web pages of AmateurGolf.com? Welcome to our series, the Alumni Report. Each week, we’ll profile a former AmateurGolf.com member now navigating the pro waters, providing a progress report and a snapshot of his or her amateur career.
Martin Trainer at the Puerto Rico Open (Photo courtesy Srixon)
The Puerto Rico Open, the PGA Tour event opposite this week’s WGC Mexico Championship, was just the 11th Tour start of Martin Trainer
’s career. Still, the 27-year-old rookie was able to hold off a Tour-tested quartet of chasers for his first victory.
Trainer birdied the 18th at Coco Beach Golf and Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, to seal a three-shot victory. It capped a final-round 67 that allowed Trainer to remain in front of his pursuers. Those included Daniel Berger, Johnson Wagner, Aaron Baddeley and Roger Sloan. All four finished a 12 under while Trainer was 15 under.
“I never thought I’d be able to win on the PGA Tour and I managed to do it today and it’s just incredible,” Trainer said in his post-tournament press conference. “I don’t know what’s more pressure: Thinking that you’re tied for the lead or knowing that you have a two-shot lead. Because those are different types of pressure, but they’re both pressure.”
That was the kind of day it was for Trainer – for a while, he wasn’t even certain where he stood.
Trainer, a USC alum who competed heavily on the California amateur circuit, had missed five cuts in eight Tour starts in the 2019 wraparound season before teeing it up in Puerto Rico. He has truly worked his way up to the top level of professional golf, however. He won twice on the Web.com Tour in 2018 and once on the LatinoAmerica tour in 2016.
Martin Trainer as an amateur
Perhaps 11 is Trainer’s lucky number, because 11 years ago, it was a similar story of being on the cusp of a breakthrough – only in amateur golf.
Trainer spent 2007 getting a feel for high-level game, qualifying for the U.S. Junior and Public Links, as well as the California State Amateur, but failed to make match play in each event. With the seed sewn in 2007, he was ready to reap the harvest in 2008, and got started in a big way with a victory in the San Francisco City Championship, where he defeated favorite Randy Haag, 2 up, to become, at 16, the youngest champion in tourney history.
Trainer was a junior in high school then, playing golf for Gunn High School in Palo Alto, Calif.
"I was a little nervous, especially at the end, but I tried to keep it under control," he said after that event. "I knew I was nervous, but I'm not sure if anyone else did, sometimes I play better under pressure."
That seems to have translated nicely to his pro career.